Civic sizzle

Lyric Theatre stages their summer with three large-scale musicals.

Lyric Theatre’s summer series is the stage event of the season. Presenting three dazzling and enormous musical productions at the Civic Center Music Hall is a triumphant return after COVID-19 kept them out of all indoor productions for two years.

Pivoting to an unprecedented outdoor season in 2021 by performing Grease on the Bishop-McGuinness High School football field last summer, Lyric finally returns to its longtime home.

Opening June 21, Lyric starts the series with their family-friendly production of Matilda: The Musical followed in rapid succession by Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel and finally the Broadway hit Kinky Boots.

Based on the beloved children’s novel by Ronald Dahl, Matilda tells the story of a young girl with extra-special abilities. Matilda has uncaring parents, cruel school administrators and nobody in her corner. She seeks refuge in imagination and finds a little help with her ally and teacher Miss Honey. This slightly-bonkers story has catchy original tunes from musical great Tim Minchin and was adapted for the stage by Dennis Kelly. Matilda is double cast in the titular role with Cassie Magrath and Elaina Dobey playing her in alternate performances. Ashley Wells directs and Brian Hamilton serves as music director.

The second show of the summer season opens July 5. Seeking to capitalize on the success of Oklahoma!, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein collaborated on Carousel, which debuted on Broadway in 1945 and a Broadway revival in 2018 brought the show back into popularity. Lyric’s production is directed by Producing Artistic Director Michael Baron. Lyric hardly does anything small, and this production is going to fill the Thelma Gaylord stage. Carousel stars Courtney Crouse as Nettie Fowler, Julianne Reynolds as Julie Jordan, and Joe Caskey as Billy Bigelow. Carousel contains adult content and may not be suitable for children. Much like Oklahoma!, it has surprisingly dark elements.

The third show, opening July 24, is sure to be a hit, and is a much-anticipated production for Lyric Theatre. Tony Award-winning Kinky Boots was a hit on Broadway in 2013 and features music by iconic performer Cyndi Lauper. Charlie Price reluctantly inherits a shoe factory from his father, but when Charlie meets Lola, a drag queen and cabaret performer, the drama begins. Together, the pair hatch a plan to save the factory and provide for the costuming needs of the drag community. Drag performers are at the heart and soul of the queer community and Pride wouldn’t be the same without them.

The cast of Kinky Boots is comprised of Jamard Richardson as Lola, Jordan Jacobs as Charlie, Mariah Warren as Pat, and Janna Linae as Lauren. Ashley Wells directs and Jan McDaniel is the musical director.

Each whirlwind production only lasts for six days and Lyric at The Civic Center sells out fast, so don’t sleep on getting tickets.

Matilda: The Musical runs June 21-26, Carousel runs July 5-10 and Kinky Boots runs July 19-24. All performances are at the Civic Center Music Hall, 201 N. Walker Ave.